I was excited to read this week’s Flint chapter, because it focused on intermediate and advanced readers and writers in the classroom. As teachers, we know it is our job to help those who are struggling with literacy development, but it is also our duty to encourage the other students to continue to grow.
In my classroom, I have definitely seen the tell-tale signs of students reading without comprehension. The boy who “reads” his 50-page chapter book in one day (I am in 2nd grade, btw), or the girl who completely makes up the plot of the book when asked to describe what’s going on in Henry and Mudge. It is quite heartbreaking to see students miss out on the joys of Junie B. Jones and other such engaging texts, simply because they cannot get engaged in the reading.
As always, I enjoyed Flint’s interspersed lesson ideas and classroom activities that foster a love of reading in the classroom. The little example at the beginning about the teacher and the boys with their comic books, however, seemed a little unlikely. I cannot see any of my male students using their reading time to make lists of anything, let alone adjectives describing a character in a book. Now I completely agree that, as teachers, we must create interesting literacy tasks which both engage and focus learners, but it is not always as clear-cut. When students are off-task during literacy in my placement classroom, they are usually talking or doodling or staring off into space. I realize that it is my job as their teacher to figure out what interests children in my class and how I can use those topics and ideas to form my classroom lessons and activities…but that is no easy task. Finding the right balance for a particular classroom, I think, takes a good amount of trial and error…and lots of tweaking! But that is all part of being an effective teacher!